It’s another Monday Sky Dancers!
And, we’re hearing more about the how Brett Kavanaugh was given a lot of special treatment on his short path to a seat on SCOTUS. This is from WAPO and it’s an opinion piece by Jennifer Ruben: “This is the Kavanaugh mess we feared”. The big question is will this make one damned bit of difference?
The initial NYT times story has triggered a flurry of calls for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. The article from VOX is from Tara Golshan and sums up the areas where he’s had truthfulness issues..
Democrats called for an investigation into Kavanaugh’s “truthfulness” during the confirmation process, but got nowhere.As new information — and another allegation — comes out, there have been renewed calls to reopen investigations into the Supreme Court justice.
Kavanaugh’s truthfulness has repeatedly come into question
Even before Saturday’s report, there were a lot of discrepancies in Kavanaugh’s story — especially when it came to Ramirez’s allegation.
During the confirmation process, an NBC report detailed communication between Kavanaugh, his team, and college friends to rebut Deborah Ramirez’s claim that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at Yale, before she had come forward with allegations in an article in the New Yorker.
NBC’s reporting was in direct contradiction to Kavanaugh’s testimony, in which he angrily denied the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct brought against him and said he learned of Ramirez’s claim through the original New Yorker story:
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): When did you first hear of Ms. Ramirez’s allegations against you?
KAVANAUGH: … In the New Yorker.
HATCH: Did the ranking member [Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)] or any of her colleagues or any of their staffs ask you about Ms. Ramirez’s allegations before they were leaked to the press?
However, two friends of Kavanaugh’s — Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage — were in contact with the Supreme Court nominee and his team, according to text messages obtained by NBC:
In a series of texts before the publication of the New Yorker story, Yarasavage wrote that she had been in contact with “Brett’s guy,” and also with “Brett,” who wanted her to go on the record to refute Ramirez. According to Berchem, Yarasavage also told her friend that she turned over a copy of the wedding party photo to Kavanaugh, writing in a text: “I had to send it to Brett’s team too.”
In an interview with Republican congressional staff two days after Ramirez went public, Kavanaugh said he had “heard about” Ramirez calling college friends about the alleged incident. It’s not clear if he had heard about that after the allegations went public.
These text messages detailing Kavanaugh’s knowledge of Ramirez’s allegations aren’t the first time his truthfulness has come into question. Here are five other instances where discrepancies in Kavanaugh’s testimonies have been raised.
1) Kavanaugh’s drinking: The Supreme Court nominee has been adamant that while he enjoys beer and perhaps at time drank “too many,” it was never to the point of passing out, blacking out, or even causing slight lapses in memory.
His characterization of drinking has been denied by multiple friends and past roommates, as Vox’s Emily Stewart explained. He grew “belligerent and aggressive” as a drunk, according to Chad Ludington, one of Kavanaugh’s former classmates.
Liz Swisher, another former Yale classmate, recounted to CNN of Kavanaugh’s drinking: “There’s no problem with drinking beer in college. The problem is lying about it.”
The other allegation, previously unreported, came from Washington lawyer Max Stier, who told Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) that he witnessed Kavanaugh exposing himself to a different female classmate during their freshman year.
Both Kavanaugh and the woman were heavily intoxicated at the time, according to Stier’s account, as described by people familiar with the contacts between him and Coons and others who have spoken with Stier since Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
The woman in that case, a friend of Ramirez, has denied that she was assaulted, telling friends she has no memory of such an incident. According to Stier’s account, the woman was so inebriated at the time that she could easily have no memory of it.
Coons sent Wray a letter on Oct. 2 — four days before the Senate voted on Kavanaugh — naming Stier as an “individual whom I would like to specifically refer to you for appropriate follow up.”
The FBI never contacted Stier. The bureau also did not interview other classmates who said they had heard at the time of either the incident Stier reported or the one involving Ramirez.
Stier has declined to comment publicly on the allegation. He wanted his account to remain confidential, both for the sake of the woman, a widow with three children, and for his own professional considerations.
Stier founded a nonpartisan, nonprofit group to promote public service roughly two decades ago. Before that, he was a lawyer at Washington’s Williams & Connolly firm, where he worked with the team that defended then-President Clinton. Several Republican commentators on Sunday zeroed in on that part of his resume to discredit his account as partisan.
During the hearings, Kavanaugh stated under oath that he was never so drunk that he would pass out or forget what he’d done while intoxicated. A number of former classmates who knew him said they were sufficiently upset by that statement, which they considered untruthful, that they contacted the FBI. None received responses from the bureau.
So, the usual suspects have lined up to either defend the feckless Kavanaugh.but it appears the calls for impeachment may not go any where at all. From Politico and Kyle Cheney “Judiciary chairman throws cold water on Kavanaugh impeachment. Jerry Nadler says the committee is too busy ‘impeaching the president’ to consider investigating the Supreme Court justice.”
The House Judiciary Committee is too tied up with “impeaching the president” to take immediate action on a potential investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday.
“We have our hands full with impeaching the president right now and that’s going to take up our limited resources and time for a while,” Nadler said on WNYC when pressed by host Brian Lehrer.
The House Judiciary Committee is too tied up with “impeaching the president” to take immediate action on a potential investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday.
“We have our hands full with impeaching the president right now and that’s going to take up our limited resources and time for a while,” Nadler said on WNYC when pressed by host Brian Lehrer.
There just appears to be no depth of depravity to which all of Trump’s appointments can find themselves. And the worst thing? They don’t ever seem to be held to account in a manner consistence with justice.
Trump and every one that surrounds him engage and scandalous, illegal behaviors and the system props them up. The Republicans in their search for white male hegemony that only recognizes women and minorities that are enablers must be dealt with at the ballot box and in the committees of the House of Representatives.
Are we woke enough to get this done?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
There was a pro-tRump, KKK, Neo-Nazi rally here in Dahlonega yesterday, it stinks because this is one of the reasons I moved out of Banjoville.
Chester Doles, the principal organizer of Saturday’s pro-Trump rally in Dahlonega, has repeatedly described his group as patriotic and peaceful, despite his history as a violent white supremacist.
Doles has two prior felony convictions, both of which earned him stints in federal prison. Now, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned that Doles was arrested on assault charges in a December 2016 melee in a Dahlonega bar that included, according to a witness report, Doles smashing a woman’s head into a wall while calling her a “stupid (expletive) white bitch.”
Doles is currently on supervised probation for that charge, conditions of which require him to “avoid persons or places of disreputable or harmful character.”
BTW, Doles is planning to run for the US Senate…as a challenge to David Purdue.
Hey, just a side comment:
Uh, that is the sheriff of Chattooga County…as posted by the Facebook page of the Georgia Alliance For Social Justice Discussion Group…That is disgusting. As you can see, the white power symbol being flashed…
It was exhilarating to get out there and yell towards the dipshit’s office…granted he wasn’t there and neither was his staff…but to be able to get the frustration out, that was marvelous.
A few tweets….
I wonder if that whole shitfuck was planned, because:
Meanwhile…what is important about this fucking article…gets buried:
A few more tweets…for some harmless fun?
And now, a funny take on Biden, no not just this ridiculous record player crap from the debate.
We are talking about the legendary story of Corn Pop. To get the full jest of the matter, I have to share this extra long Twitter thread with y’all. Take the time to read it in full.
You can also read the entire thread here: Thread by @michaelharriot: “Thread: I’m always astounded by the imaginings of white people as it relates to race. Many of them have this fictionalized jigaboo version t […]”
In relation to the story of Corn Pop…
Early in the summer, a gang that called itself the Romans frequented the pool. One of the gang members, nicknamed Corn Pop, was bouncing relentlessly on the high diving board, which was expressly against the rules. Biden, wanting to show that he “wasn’t an easy mark” whistled at Corn Pop and yelled, “Esther Williams! Get off the board, man. You’re out of here.”
Williams was a 1950s swimmer and actress best known for aquatic set pieces, and the joke was likely meant to be somewhat emasculating.
Biden wanted to call the police, but Wright stopped him. If he did that, he’d never be allowed back in the community. So Biden did as his friend suggested and wrapped a six-foot length of metal chain around his arm, which he then wrapped in a towel.
Corn Pop indeed approached Biden, who said, “You might cut me, Corn Pop, but I’m going to wrap this chain around your head before you do.”
But he also said, loudly for all to hear, “I owe you an apology. I should never have called you Esther Williams. That was wrong. And in front of all your friends, I sincerely apologize. But if you bounce on the board like that again, I’m still going to throw you out.”
The two “put our weapons away, and we ended up being friends. Corn Pop and the Romans looked out for me the rest of the summer.”
This was all news to me. How could I have missed this story of Corn Pop and the gang?
I will end with this image. I think the look on Hillary’s face says it all:
This is an open thread.
The mainstream (AKA white male) media has decided for us that only the oldest (white) Democratic candidates are acceptable to them. It also appears they have mostly rejected Bernie Sanders and embraced Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. I’d like to offer some rare counterarguments, even though it might be a futile exercise.
Henry Olsen at The Washington Post: The three big winners of the Houston debate.
Harris was charismatic. Alternately funny and serious, warm and strong, she came across as a real person with real experience and a passion for change. Her answers lacked some of the policy detail of her competitors, but she more than made up for that with her wit and some planned one-liners. Former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro spoke about how Democratic presidential winners excited millions of voters to put together their victorious coalitions. His low-energy performance did not show he was the person to do that, but Harris’s suggested she could.
Whether she can turn a winning persona into a winning campaign remains to be seen. Democrats looking for passionate progressivism have found their champions, and Harris wisely is not trying to out-shout Sanders or Warren. Democrats looking for a steady, more centrist hand also have their person, and Biden thus far hasn’t given them reason to change. But the race is still young, and we know from experience that candidates drop rapidly in the face of attacks and under the pressure of the moment. If Harris can keep this up, she is positioned to pick up former supporters of any of the top three if they falter.
Klobuchar was the surprise of the night, finally showing some energy and life. Her opening statement carefully presented her case as the Midwestern working mom who can unite the country while advancing liberal policy goals. Cleverly blasting Sanders’s signature Medicare-for-all proposal by saying, “While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill,” was a masterstroke. Her closing statement was superb as she argued that only someone from the middle of the country could speak to the middle of the political spectrum.
She won’t gain much in the polls from her performance, but it nonetheless demonstrates how she could break out of the pack. Her standing in Iowa polls is slightly higher than her national standing, and her debate strategy was laser-targeted on the Iowa voter who isn’t a staunch progressive.
Christopher Frizzelle at The Stranger: Kamala Harris Landed One Solid Blow After Another Against Trump.
Kamala Harris may not be my number-one choice for nominee, but hot damn she can land a punch. At a previous debate, she took her prosecutorial skills straight to Joe Biden. Last night, she changed tack and went for Trump, over and over again. In doing so, she demonstrated what kind of adversary she would be in general-election debates against Trump, and probably did herself some favors by making it easier to picture her as the nominee. (Not that “winning” debates against Trump in a general election would necessarily mean beating him: Hillary Clinton’s debate performances were flawless).
See videos of Harris’ attacks on Trump at the link. Here’s her opening statement:
On the Biden front, I posted this piece by Jamil Smith in a comment yesterday, but it’s so important that I’m posting again here:
As you can see from these few articles in which I found praise of Harris, she probably will never be accepted as a legitimate candidate by the media or the “Justice Democrats,” who favor Sanders and Warren. But it’s possible she could attract the black vote if Biden drops out. And we need the black vote.
Rolling Stone: Why It’s Time for Joe to Go.
Donald Trump is not merely a bully, but a racist one. Bigotry has been the marrow of his presidency, so whoever hopes to face him next year will need to at least be fluent in the language of antiracism, if not be practicing it. It is not enough, as author Ibram X. Kendi writes in his new book How to Be an Antiracist, to simply claim that you are “not a racist.” Democrats, particularly white liberals, have skated on that for generations. There is too much institutional cruelty for the next president to undo should a Democrat defeat Trump next fall….
Thankfully, ABC seemed to understand this. They had excellent moderators, including Univision’s Jorge Ramos and ABC correspondent Linsey Davis, the panel’s only African American. She asked several questions of the entire field that provoked the kind of frank and open discussion of black concerns and political interests that is rare for a presidential debate. It was fitting, given the setting on the historically black campus of Texas Southern University, but also because Davis said that young black voters consider racism their chief concern….
Davis…directed a question at Biden concerning his alarming 1975 comments on school segregation. She read the full quote, “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather, I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation, and I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago,” and Biden smirked oddly as she did so. The correspondent followed up by asking, “What responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?” Without missing a beat, the Democratic front-runner delivered a response that was considerably more disqualifying than anything Castro said all night.
Having just had something offensive that he said 44 years ago quoted back to him, Biden took the opportunity to say something that was arguably worse.
After proposing that teacher raises are the first step to undoing the legacy of slavery, Biden said the following. It’s worth reading in full.
Number two, make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we need — we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy.
The teachers are — I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We have — make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds go to school. School. Not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children.
It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the — the — make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.
That’s the current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination a) first appearing to treat the mere mention of an old segregationist quote of his as ridiculous, then b) responding to a question about repairing the legacy of slavery by saying that the government needs to have teachers go into the homes of kids in poor schools to teach the parents how to raise those children. And what color are the children, disproportionately, going to those poor schools? Nowhere in that answer is a prescription for making the poor families less so, nor for improving the schools. It’s the kind of paternalistic racism that has so long existed in both liberal and conservative circles, and was on Thursday night spilling out of the mouth of the former vice president on the campus of an HBCU. It was all quite a sight to behold.
Jamil Smith is right. We need an anti-racist candidate if we are going to defeat Trump. Biden can’t pass that test, and so far Warren hasn’t done it either. I guess we’ll find out if she has it in her as time goes on, but so far what we have is her claim of Native Americans blood that offended actual Native Americans and the fact that Trump will repeatedly call her “Pocahantas” in the general election campaign if she’s the nominee.
Jonathan Chait has an interesting argument about what may be happening in the Democratic primary race: What If the Only Democrat Who Isn’t Too Radical to Win Is Too Old?
Here is a science-fiction scenario: Imagine a strange new virus that incapacitates everybody below the age of 75. The virus wipes out the entire political leadership, except one old man, who has survived on account of his age, but may also be too old to handle the awesome task before him.
Now suppose — and I am not certain this is the case, but just suppose — that this is happening to the Democratic presidential campaign. The virus is Twitter, and the old man is (duh) Joe Biden.
Apparently Chait doesn’t see Sanders as a Democrat, and I agree with him. Chait argues that after 2016, liberal Democrats bought into the notion that, based on Bernie Sanders’ performance in the primaries, voters were ready to embrace the most progressive ideas and policies and that Trump’s election proved that “a nominee with extreme positions could still win.”
Neither of these conclusions was actually correct. The Bernie Sanders vote encompassed voters who opposed Hillary Clinton for a wide array of reasons — including that she was too liberal — and were overall slightly to the right of Clinton voters. And political-science findings that general election voters tend to punish more ideologically extreme candidates remain very much intact. (Trump benefited greatly by distancing himself rhetorically from his party’s unpopular small-government positions, and voters saw him as more moderate than previous Republican nominees, even though he predictably reverted to partisan form once in office.)
And yet, this analysis seemed to race unchallenged through the Democratic Party from about 2016 — it seemed to influence Clinton, who declined the traditional lurch toward the center after vanquishing Sanders — through this year.
Of course after Trump won, the media and many Democrats bought into the idea that they needed to work harder to win over white working class voters, but Chait doesn’t mention that.
Nowhere was the gap between perception and reality more dramatic than on health care. In the run-up to the primary, most of the field signed on to Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All plan. Sanders had not managed to work out solutions to the obstacles that have bedeviled single-payer health-care supporters for decades: How to assure Americans who currently have employer-sponsored insurance to accept higher taxes and that they’ll be happier on a public plan.
Kamala Harris has had second thoughts, and has twisted herself into a pretzel trying to wriggle away from the proposal. Cory Booker has largely avoided discussing it. Elizabeth Warren was signaling last year that she would support more moderate reforms, but has instead handcuffed herself to the Sanders plan.
The vulnerabilities of this position have been on bright display in every Democratic debate. Neither Warren nor Sanders could supply a coherent response to the question of whether middle-class voters would pay higher taxes or whether they would like being moved off their employer plan. “I’ve never met anybody who likes their health-insurance company,” Warren insisted, eliding the clear reality that most people who have employer-sponsored insurance do like it. When asked about higher taxes, they dodged by changing the question to total costs. And while it’s probably true that they could design a plan where higher wages — by taking insurance off the company books — would cancel out the high taxes, neither inspired confidence that they could persuade skeptical voters they’d come out ahead in the deal.
The odd thing about this race to the left is that there’s little evidence it appeals to the primary electorate, let alone the general election version. Democrats strongly support universal coverage, but have lukewarm feelings on the mechanism to attain this. They prefer reforms that involve a combination of public and private options over the Bernie movement’s manic obsession with crushing private health insurance.
This applies as well to the party’s general ideological orientation. More Democratic voters express concern the party will nominate a candidate who’s too liberal (49 percent) than one who’s not liberal enough (41 percent). By a similar 54–41 margin, more Democrats want their party to move toward the center than toward the left.
It’s an interesting article and there’s more at the link. I don’t agree with Chait on everything, but I do think Democrats need to think carefully about whether focusing on unrealistic policies that will never get through Congress instead of on the dangers of a Trump second term is a winning strategy.
This post is too long, but I want to call attention to one more important article by Dahlia Lithwick at Slate: What Happens if Trump Won’t Step Down? National security expert Josh Geltzer on why we should be prepared for the worst.
In February, Georgetown Law professor Josh Geltzer began to ponder aloud what would happen if President Donald Trump refused to leave office were he to be defeated in 2020. It sounded far-fetched, but Geltzer isn’t a conspiracy theorist. Actually, he served as senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council and, prior to that, as deputy legal adviser to the NSC and counsel to the assistant attorney general for national security. When he wrote his essay suggesting that perhaps it was time to start preparing for if Trump, who has repeatedly shown a willingness to overstep his constitutional authority, simply refused to leave the Oval Office, he was met with silence. When Michael Cohen warned in his March testimony before Congress, “given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” he too was met with awkward silence. But the anxieties gradually began to grow. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fretted about this possibility in a May interview in the New York Times. When Politico probed the question this summer, it noted: “Constitutional experts and top Republican lawmakers dismiss the fears as nonsense, noting there are too many forces working against a sitting president simply clinging to power—including history, law and political pressure.” But commentators now seem less confident in those forces.
On Thursday, Edward Luce at the Financial Times noted how often Trump jokes about having a third term, observing that, because of Trump’s belief that he could face prosecution after he leaves office, “no other US president has faced the prospect of being re-elected or going to jail.” He added that for Trump, losing the 2020 election is an existential threat, and he has openly invited foreign interference, while Mitch McConnell refuses to even consider legislation to secure the vote. And even if Trump is truly joking when he tweets that he deserves to be credited two extra years in his existing term, years he believes were lost to the Mueller probe, or riffs on staying on the job long after he’d been term-limited out, the tweets send a dangerous message to his loyalists.
Please go read the whole thing.
So . . . what stories are you following? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a peaceful, relaxing weekend.
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
It’s going to be an interesting Day! #FridayThe13th coincides with the full moon for the first time since 2000, So why is Friday the 13th so unlucky? Yeah, well, guess where most of our superstitions come from? If you said Christianity you were right!
And, it may have started early last night at the debates and the doddering old white grandpas on the stage and in the press who proved they’re still back in the 20th century. I about dropped my wine glass when I heard Chris Matthews discuss the concerns of the Democratic Base with Corey Booker and let slip the old school, objectification term “coloreds”. Matthews and Biden still seem to think that there’s some elusive white male working unicorn class out there like their “dads” that will come to the calming old school, whitie tightie, lexicon. Meanwhile, they both bungle forwards while stuck in the 60s with Bernie and his throwback Berners.
I love this headline by AP’s Julie Pace: “Analysis: Biden looks like a front-runner, until he doesn’t”. He may wind up writing a thank you note to Julian Castro because the only thing that made him look sympathetic was Castro’s performance.
But the debate was punctuated by moments that highlighted why Biden can’t shake questions about his consistency and whispers about his fitness for office, despite his lead in most national polls and early state surveys. Most glaringly: a meandering answer near the end of the debate about his past statements on racial inequality. Biden said poor parents should play the “record player” for their children before veering off into comments about Venezuela.
Biden’s standing in the Democratic contest is the source of much debate within the party. Is he an experienced elder statesman who can calm an anxious nation and peel back some of the white working class voters who helped send President Donald Trump to the White House? Or is the 76-year-old past his prime and out of step with a party that’s growing younger, more diverse and more liberal?
To move further down the analysis:
Perhaps mindful of that reality, most candidates sidestepped overt criticism of the vice president in Thursday’s debate.
The one notable exception was Julián Castro, who served as Obama’s housing secretary and is in need of a jolt to break out of the lower tier of candidates. In a highly charged moment, Castro challenged Biden’s memory — a barely veiled reference to questions about the former vice president’s age.
“Are you forgetting already what you just said two minutes ago?” Castro said during an exchange on health care.
In a post-debate interview, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker laid into Biden as well, saying there were many people concerned about Biden’s ability to carry the ball “across the end line without fumbling.”
Castro and Booker were zeroing in on real questions that are being asked about Biden. Is he too old to serve as president? If he were the nominee, would he make a mistake at a critical moment that could clear the way for Trump?
Biden’s stumbles later in the debate magnified those questions. He struggled through an answer about the war in Iraq and gave a grab-bag answer to a question about how to repair the legacy of slavery in America. He appeared to suggest that poorer families needed help learning how to raise their children.
Biden’s supporters argue that ultimately, those answers — and the questions they raise — matter less to voters than their overall impressions of the former vice president. Indeed, there is a deep reservoir of goodwill for Biden in the Democratic Party, shaped in large part by the eight years he served as Obama’s No. 2.
Ramos then turned to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker with one of the most distinctive questions asked so far in the 2020 debate season: “After the recent fires in the Amazon, some experts suggested that eating less meat is one way to help the environment. You are a vegan since 2014. That’s obviously a personal choice, but President Trump and Brazil’s President Bolsonaro are concerned that climate change regulations could affect economic growth. So should more Americans, including those here in Texas, and in Iowa, follow your diet?”
That drew laughs. Booker got even more laughs when he said, “First of all, I want to say no. Actually, I want to translate that into Spanish: No.”
I also found this analysis interesting from Buzzfeed: “The Real Democratic Primary Starts Now. And It’s All About Elizabeth Warren.“If I could be any candidate right now, I would want to be her.” by Ruby Crame and Ben Smith.
It’s impossible, stupid, and likely embarrassing to predict who is going to win the Democratic presidential primary.
But it’s already become clear who has shaped it: Elizabeth Warren.
Warren, the 70-year-old Massachusetts senator, has put her agenda for structural change at the center of the 2020 campaign, helping turn the party’s center into its right and its radical left into a plausible alternative. She’s set the standard for how you run a presidential campaign and watched her rivals — including the men who typically place ahead of her in the polls — imitate her tactics. She’s the focus of public panic on Wall Street and public attacks from the Democratic Party’s old guard. And as she ticks upward in public polling, she’s also benefiting from a remarkable consensus among the Democratic Party’s professional class, according to interviews with a dozen veterans of presidential politics this week, that she is on her way to becoming the candidate to beat.
In the days before Thursday’s debate here in Texas — a moment that marked the start of a tighter, more competitive fight for the Democratic nomination — Joe Biden and his allies telegraphed a series of new talking points, all seemingly aimed at Warren. That same day, a viral clip showed a CNBC panel voice genuine panic about a Warren presidency: “You talk to executives,” said host Jim Cramer, “they’re more fearful of her winning — I mean I’ve never heard anybody say, ‘Look! Uh, she’s gotta be stopped! She’s gotta be stopped!’” A Wall Street Journal editorial followed the next morning.
Onstage in Houston, Warren commanded the most speaking time alongside Biden, putting herself at the center of policy debates on health care while staying out of the most personal arguments between candidates. Her preparation for the third round of Democratic debates on Thursday, her aides have said, did not deviate much from the first and second rounds beyond one key difference: preparing for her opponents to turn their criticism in her direction.
“I know that the senator says that she’s for Bernie, well, I’m for Barack,” Biden said in the first answer of the night, in response to a question about whether Warren and Bernie Sanders are pushing too far left.
Warren, in her response, cut off the idea that she was out to undo Obama’s legacy. “We all owe a huge debt to President Obama, who fundamentally transformed health care in America and committed this country to health care for every human being,” she said. “And now the question is, how best can we improve on it?”
Trump’s epic physical and mental decline was on full display last night for any one that cares. Matt Fuller of HuffPo writes”Trump Gives A Rambling Mess Of A Speech At The GOP’s Baltimore Retreat — And He’s A Hit. The takeover of the Republican Party is complete.”
Trump took the stage clapping along with his excited GOP audience, and he really never stopped praising himself. He cheered his administration’s repeal on Thursday of clean water regulations, while also congratulating himself for what he claimed is the nation’s cleanest water and air in the last 25 years. He cheered the Senate’s confirmation Thursday of his 150th nominee to federal courts. And he lauded the economy that has produced low unemployment rates for minorities.
But far from running through a scripted checklist of accomplishments, Trump delivered a largely extemporaneous ― often bizarre ― speech about, among many other topics, the Democratic presidential candidates, immigration, the 2020 campaign, the 2016 election, the border wall, even cowboy hats.
Trump also told a story about an old business rival that he used to hate and, he said, who used to hate him. He noted that the old rival — who he did not name — was now working to get Trump reelected. He ended the story by remarking that, with the crop of Democrats vying to win the nomination, this old enemy didn’t have a choice but to support him.
“Our country will go to hell if any of these people” win the White House, Trump told the Republicans.
Trump dinged Democrats for their immigration policies ― and spent a considerable amount of time joking about the name of one of the party’s presidential candidates, Pete Buttigieg. But he also praised Democrats for their unity. “We have to stick together like they do,” Trump said.
If the president had any concerns that Republican House members ― who lost their majority in last year’s midterm in a voter rebuke of Trump ― might bail on him, his audience was there to assure him there was no reason to be worried.
As Trump departed the stage to his usual campaign sign-off song, The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stopped the music to deliver a message. “We’re with you, we’ll never get tired of winning, and we’ll always put America first,” the Californian said.
Mind you: Trump had cracked minutes before that the husky McCarthy was somewhat bovine. The joke came as Trump claimed, falsely, that the Green New Deal pushed by some progressive lawmakers would result in “no more cows, no more planes, I guess no more people.”
“Because Kevin is just like a cow, just smaller,” Trump continued. He added that he couldn’t resist the attempt at humor and he picked McCarthy because he saw his “beautiful” face smiling at him.
Well, those are some things I found but I’m sure we’ll be hearing about it all day. The only thing I haven’t written about today is the Andy McCabe situation.
I think we can clearly call this a DOJ political witch hunt but more stuff will come out I’m sure.
So, join me around the potion kettle tonight and howl at the moon a few times!
What’s on you’re reading and blogging list today?
The debate is on your local ABC affiiate. And, it’s interesting already! Immigration is front and center! What is your family story?
Some things that made me smile yesterday:
HuffPost: Hillary Clinton Spent An Hour Reading Her Emails At A Mock Resolute Desk For Art.
Hillary Clinton paid a visit to an art exhibition in Venice, Italy, that involved her sitting at a mock Resolute Desk and reading copies of her now-infamous emails.
Images cropped up online Wednesday showing the 2016 Democratic nominee for president in Despar Teatro Italia, which is currently hosting a solo exhibition by the artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith called “HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails.”
Goldsmith told HuffPost via email that Clinton’s visit “was a surprise,” while curator Francesco Urbano Ragazzi said organizers thought the possibility of her visiting was a joke.
“Someone close to Mrs. Clinton contacted us very informally a few days before her visit. We realized that it wasn’t a joke only when we saw the security service inside the exhibition space at 9 am on Tuesday,” they told HuffPost via email….
Goldsmith’s exhibition makes public “for the first time in printed format” some 60,000 pages of Clinton’s emails, which, per WikiLeaks, “were sent from the domain description from exhibit co-organizer Zuecca Projects….between 2009 and 2013,” according to the
“Everybody was very excited [during Clinton’s visit],” Urbano Ragazzi said. “I think the scene was so extraordinary that many customers believed that she was just a lookalike at first.” [….]
The artist shared on Twitter that Clinton read her emails for an hour and, per a translation from an Italian news outlet, said: “This exhibition is further proof that nothing wrong or controversial can be found on these emails. It makes them accessible to everyone and allows everyone to read them.”
He also recalled Clinton saying, as an aside, to Urbano Ragazzi: “They are just so boring.”
If only so many in the media hadn’t been determined to destroy her, we could have had a competent president with a sense of humor.
Thanks to Dakinikat for alerting me to this important message from NBC’s Katy Tur, who returned from maternity leave yesterday. On her show yesterday, she passionately for paid maternity leave for working mothers and fathers.
Democratic debate tonight
The third Democratic Debate airs tonight from 8-11PM on ABC and Univision. CNN:
The third Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight in Houston, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts sharing the debate stage for the first time this cycle, having previously avoided a direct confrontation as a result of the random draw process.
Democratic voters will see the current top three candidates — Biden, Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — share the stage together, setting up the ideological battle in the nominating race between the more moderate and progressive wings of the party.
For most of the other seven candidates sharing the stage, who have either failed to break into the top tier or have seen their positions stall in the Democratic race, the debate will be another chance to inject their candidacies with much-needed momentum heading into the fall sprint ahead of the first contests early next year.</
The media have decreed that our choices are between two ancient white men and a 70-year-old woman who agrees with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump on Trade and on supporting primary challengers to Democratic incumbents.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
Sen. Kamala Harris of California
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Businessman Andrew Yang
The House Judiciary Committee took a big step Thursday morning in its ongoing investigation into whether to recommend the filing of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, passing a resolution that set procedures and rules for future impeachment investigation hearings.
The resolution passed along party lines, 24-17.
“But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat. And we are doing so.”
Earlier this week, Nadler told NBC News that the purpose of the resolution was to put into effect “certain procedures to make that investigation more effective,” a necessary move given that “the inquiry is getting more serious.”
Under the resolution, which does not need to be approved by the full House, Nadler can designate hearings run by the full committee and its subcommittees as part of the impeachment investigation. The committee’s lawyers are also able to question witnesses for an additional hour beyond the five minutes that are allotted to each member of Congress on the panel.
“Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in his opening statement Thursday.
Read more at the link.
At Bloomberg, Jonathan Bernstein critiques the Democrats’ impeachment efforts: Why Are Democrats in Disarray Over Impeachment?
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are planning a step Thursday to make their de facto impeachment inquiry into something more formal. They’re doing it, however, in what Greg Sargent describes as a “muddle.” He has it right: This isn’t a messaging failure as much as it is a substantive one.
The basic problem is that House Democrats can’t seem to agree on where their impeachment effort stands. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says that “formal impeachment proceedings” are underway. Others, including in the House leadership, have expressed much more ambiguous views of what’s happening.
A few things are contributing to this muddle. One is a push from many party actors who basically judge everything short of impeaching President Donald Trump as a total flop – a position that I still think doesn’t make much sense. Another is that some House Democrats in tough districts are overly cautious about taking on the president. But perhaps the biggest factor is that the Democrats have had a majority in the House for more than nine months now and have at best managed to produce a handful of memorable moments in oversight hearings on Trump’s many scandals and general lawlessness. At best. Maybe.
Some impeachment-or-nothing advocates suspect that this is all part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s secret scheme to avoid impeachment altogether – that she fears effective oversight hearings because they’d inevitably lead to more calls for ousting the president. But a better explanation is simple incompetence. Successful hearings would in fact help resolve Pelosi’s difficult choices. There’s an outside possibility that they could shift some Republicans toward supporting impeachment. But even if they didn’t, the House leadership could explain that continued hearings would actually be more effective than a symbolic impeachment vote. That’s an argument that won’t convince anyone right now because no one thinks the hearings to date have had any effect.
Of course Trump has effectively been stonewalling Democrats’ efforts to obtain evidence and witness testimony.
To be fair: Trump’s stonewalling of legitimate House oversight is unprecedented, and a legitimate reason for impeachment and removal from office. The House has never had to deal with anything this extreme, and is fighting back in court. But there’s simply no excuse for their failure to dramatize Trump’s misconduct in ways that would really catch the attention of voters.
There’s still the problem I’ve discussed before, and that Sargent addresses in his item, that an impeachment inquiry really does imply an eventual next step of either clearing the president or moving to a vote, and Democrats probably don’t want to do either right now. But muddling through sometimes works out in the long run even if it looks like a mess to careful observers. Remember that hardly any voters are paying attention to anything Congress does, including impeachment investigations or inquiries or whatever they want to call it.
Whether there’s a train wreck ahead for Democrats or not, figuring out how to hold effective hearings would help in the meantime. Eventually, it’s really going to take some better results from Nadler and the rest of his party.
Read the rest at Bloomberg Opinion..
Now for the bad (AKA Trump) news, links only
The New York Times: Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues.
The New York Times: Trump Administration to Finalize Rollback of Clean Water Protections.
The Washington Post: ‘You’re a prop in the back’: Advisers struggle to obey Trump’s Kafkaesque rules.
The Daily Beast: Trump Flirts With $15 Billion Bailout for Iran, Sources Say.
Trump wants to open concentration camps for homeless people:
The New York Times: Trump Eyes Crackdown on Homelessness as Aides Visit California.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a nice Thursday!
Remember Gina, and all the others today.
Eighteen years is a drop of water…in the river of collective years, we will have… that Gina and the others will not.